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Raising the bar

Catonsville community is pumped about new fitness center

Created date

February 26th, 2013

We hear it all the time: exercise, eat right, and avoid habits like smoking, and you can add years to your life. But sadly, only 38% of us heed that advice and meet the exercise guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exercise is the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth, says Marie Bernard, deputy director of the National Institute of Aging, in an interview with USA Today. With all the gains we ve made over the years allowing people to live longer, it would be nice if more people would take advantage of exercise to improve the quality of a longer life. However, one community in Maryland has committed to getting fit. Charlestown, a Catonsville, Md., Erickson Living community, has experienced consistently high membership at its on-site fitness center over the last three decades. Madeline Pecora is one of more than 600 fitness club members. In this community you can t help but be active, says Madeline, a former aerobics instructor who joined the fitness center soon after she moved from West Virginia ten years ago. My husband loves the pool, and I enjoy walking, she adds. Depending on my schedule I go to the fitness center usually a few days a week. I also take group fitness classes, like Zumba, which is a lot of fun. I try to do a variety of things so I don t get bored, says Madeline.

Anything but routine

Now Madeline and her fellow health-conscious neighbors have plenty of options to stay physically fit. The Charlestown fitness center just completed a year-long makeover, which included an expanded fitness room with new state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a new group fitness studio, and a 6,000-square-foot aquatics center with a 75- by 30-foot swimming pool double the size of the former pool. The top-of-the-line equipment is designed specifically for this age bracket, says Charlestown Wellness Manager Teresa Reymann. We have all new SCIFIT steppers, cardio bikes, ellipticals, New Life Fitness treadmills, and HUR strength-training equipment. We also have three cardio machines that have TVs attached to them, as well as two 50-inch flat screen TVs hanging from the ceiling with wireless audio so you can listen through ear buds while you re exercising. A variety of regular fitness classes, including strength training, low-impact aerobics, Zumba, stretching, and balance, are also held in the group fitness studio. Reymann says the new space has brought about a renewed interest in health and fitness for the entire Charlestown campus. The studio has really been a nice addition, says Reymann. The extra space allows us to add more classes and also has features like low-impact flooring, mirrors, body bars, balance bars, and medicine balls. Reymann is currently working on adding a new cycling class to the menu. Basically, it s a group-based cardio/strength training class held on a stationary bike, says Reymann. The body mechanics required on the bike make it so that a person has to use their core and stabilizing muscles to get a complete workout, not to mention the wonderful cardio benefits from working the heart rate at an aerobic and anaerobic level. It will also be a socially engaging class with great music to help the participants bike on different terrains for their workout. It takes some personality and creativity to teach this class, but when done right, everyone walks away excited and sweaty, she says.

It s never too late

Reymann says staying physically active is important at every age, but especially for those 50 and older. The old saying holds true, Use it or lose it, she says. Regular exercise is the best way to ensure that we remain strong and healthy enough to lead and enjoy vibrant, active lives later in life. And, she adds, It s never too late to start exercising. Even if you currently lead an inactive lifestyle, you can still reap the many benefits of being physically active by starting now. Charlestown residents can enjoy a basic gym membership for free. Basic membership includes a fitness assessment and consultation, personalized exercise program, and monthly monitoring of exercise progression from the center s professional fitness trainers. Personal training and group fitness classes are offered for a fee. As for Madeline, she says she has experienced good health as a result of regular exercise and will keep with it. Exercising gets in your blood, and you can t live without it, she says.